sale is on track.
During the recent discussions with the department of investment and public asset management (DIPAM), NTPC had sought exemption from buyback, saying its massive capex plan needs to be partly funded from its reserves.
NTPC plans to fund about 30 percent (Rs 8,400 crore) of planned capex in FY18 from its reserves and surplus, which stood at Rs 87,985 crore on March 31, 2017.
NTPC’s capital expenditure in FY17 was Rs 28,252 crore. The country’s largest power producer has about 24,000 MW of projects under construction, which require Rs 1 lakh crore of capital expenditure.
Earlier, on May 27, last year, the Centre had issued a capital restructuring order mandating every central PSU with a net worth above Rs 2,000 crore, and cash and bank balance of over Rs 1,000 crore to exercise the option to buy back a portion of their shares with effect from FY17. NTPC’s net worth was Rs 96,231 crore while its cash and bank balance was of about Rs 3,000 crore as on March 31, 2017. PSUs with significant capex plans can seek exemption from buyback compliance, a government official said.
The capital restructuring rules have paid off as 7 PSUs bought back shares worth Rs 18,963 crore or 41 percent of total disinvestment receipt of Rs 46,247 crore in FY17.
Taking strong exception to PSUs neither meeting capital restructuring guidelines nor seeking exemption from this, the government official said the government may cut performance linked pay (PRP) in about half a dozen Central units this year.
Share buybacks, which became an important component of disinvestment of government shares in FY17, are likely to be replicated this year as well to meet the ambitious disinvestment target of Rs 72,500 crore. According to DPAM criteria, nearly 20 central PSUs qualify for buyback including ONGC, BHEL, Oil India, Mazagon Dock, Ircon International, Airports Authority of India and SJVN.
Last week, government departments held meetings with nearly two dozen PSUs to assess their surplus cash position and whether these units complied with DIPAM guidelines. As on March 31, 2016, central PSUs had cash surplus of Rs 2.4 lakh crore.
The government is of the view that buybacks improve some key financial ratios such as earnings per share of the firms and, thereby, investor interest in them, enabling them to tap the market for funds when needed.
In a related development, the NTPC has facilitated the installation of charging stations for electric vehicles at Delhi and Noida, and will soon expand this to other location across the NCR region.
The state-owned body's initiative comes in the wake of promoting clean energy transportation in the country, while further hiking the demand for such vehicles and power generation.
An official statement released by the NTPC said that the company is looking to venture into other cities, adding that installation is underway in multiple locations across the country.
Apart from the NTPC, PowerGrid is also a part of the mission to enhance India's electric vehicle segment, which is said to be a means of slashing the fuel import bill and running cost.